"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Urban advantage

I had a date this evening downtown, at rush hour, in a snowstorm. This would have required digging my car out from under several feet of snow, manoeuvring my way to the restaurant while dodging insane people without snow tires, finding parking, and then doing it all in reverse to get home.

Instead, I tossed on my walking coat and boots, hiked two blocks, got on a bus, got off a bus, hiked four blocks, and arrived unflustered at the restaurant, after taking a few minutes to pop into the Italian grocery store for some fresh Parmesan cheese.

Being able to walk and/or take the bus this winter is going to rock!

Bus fare is 3$ cash or two tickets, 1.90$(!), for an adult. It's a bargain. Best part is that you can do a perfectly legal round trip on your tickets, provided you're within the transfer's time window! This is perfect for when I just want to pop over to pick up something quick at the pain-in-the-mitka to park at downtown mall with the unique stores, or the aforementioned Italian grocery store.

Use What You Have

When it comes to paper, I tend to be a 'pile' person. That sort of works for me, but I sometimes find myself scrambling to find a particular piece of paper. Looking at the huge pile of paper on the 'desk' in my computer armoire, I realised that it could be divided into three piles: 1) notes for the current school project which should be left out (and which accounted for 99% of the pile); 2) bills that were paid but not ready for filing or shredding; 3) miscellaneous papers that could be brought up to the library for filing but I might need again in short order. These were the two piles I wanted on hand, but off my desktop.

The obvious solution was the armoire doors. There are lots of filing systems to attach to doors, but I didn't want to damage the doors. I also thought it would be silly to spend money on a container for holding just a small handful of sheets.

So, think, think, think, and I came up with this:



Two envelopes, held up with painter's masking tape (sticky but non-damaging). The top one is for current papers, the bottom one for filing. This system is self-maintaining in that the envelopes can only contain a small amount of paperwork, meaning that I will need to deal with said paper before it becomes a burdensome and overwhelming task.

Brilliant in its simplicity, no? :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yes, I'm procrastinating. Why do you ask?

My normal way of procrastinating is to waste my time playing computer games or rewatching DVDs. This weekend, I've been procrastinating with five minute decluttering and organizing sessions between spurts of creativity. I'd call that an improvement even though I really should be doing my homework. :-)

The only thing left to organize and declutter in the bathroom was the area under the sink:



After a bit of purging and moving my overnight bag to its real home:



I have a cleaning supply caddy like that in the kitchen, too. Don't worry, I won't be sharing my undersink area in the kitchen as there is nothing to organize there!

The bathroom is on the second floor of the house, so its cleaning caddy is for that floor while the one in the kitchen is for the first floor.

Why are you disorganized?

I used to be disorganized for psychological reasons; ie. I couldn't bear to rid myself of my clutter because having things made me feel more secure. When I moved past those barriers, I decided that I wasn't organized because I didn't have the right tools. Certain people scoffed; I was just a slob and always would be even if I had the right tools.

Turns out I was right. My bedroom provides really good evidence of this. I have always, always had a 'tornado just blew through here' style room. The following are pictures of what my bedroom looks like. I did not straighten anything up before I took my pictures. This is what it looks like during the day, every day.

When I moved here, I inherited my mothers' old bedroom set. It offers an amazing amount of storage (as they say, it was designed for two people to use). There's room for just about everything I need in this room. Let me just add that I do NOT, NOT, NOT like pink, but I inherited the bedspread and accessories from my grand-mother and the blue in it just happened to match the blue of the walls, so I decided to just go with the pink for now. :-)

Bedside table:



This is the side of the bed I sleep on, obviously. :-) The book I'm currently reading is laid out on the night table. The books in the basket are next on my reading list. The two drawers are stuffed to the gills with the rest of my reading pile! When I buy or borrow a new book, this is where it goes in the house; either in the drawers or in the basket. When I'm done reading it, it is returned or put away alphabetically in the library.



The matching night table on the other side stood empty for a long time until I realised that its large deep drawers were perfect for storing bags and purses!

The top of the armoire holds sweaters and cardigans, neatly folded on two shelves behind the left door. Behind the right door is my jewelery and catchall box.

The top drawer holds my scarves. The second drawer holds my exercise clothing and the bottom drawer has, *gasp* my one pair of jeans (which I haven't worn in two years) and my 'grubby' clothes for painting and doing other messy work. I used to have drawers filled with this sort of clothes and now contain myself to one drawer.



This dresser is awesome!

Top left: tank tops
Middle left: my 'sewing needed' drawer
Bottom left: my 'give away' drawer
Top right: underthings and lightweight PJs, sorted into baskets
Middle right: socks and tights sorted into baskets for 'brown', 'black', and 'comfy'
Bottom right: winter pjs and slippers

Finally:



This room has just an itty-bitty closet. It is my skirt closet, believe it or not! The top shelf holds suitcases, and my clothes hamper is on the ground. My tops are all hung in the upstairs hallway closet (just a step away). It seemed silly to pay money for a second, lower, rod for hanging tops (which I would have had room for) when I had a whole huge empty closet right next door!

This room is a bit spare, but the kitties like to knock things off table tops and won't let me have any plants, so I'm enjoying having uncluttered surfaces that are a breeze to keep clean!

Anyone else have bedroom pictures to share?

Revive tired denim


I'd read sometime ago that you can 'revive' faded denim by washing it with a new dark denim item. I never had the combination of the two to test the theory until today. My faded denim is a much loved skirt that has, unfortunately, begun to see better days as the hem is starting to fray and it is seriously faded. But it's still perfect for hiking, camping, cleaning the house, gardening, etc. and I wanted to freshen up the colour. Today, I tossed it into the washer with a new dark denim skirt I bought recently. A half hour later, my faded skirt was about two shades darker!

The second part to this story is to, of course, wash new dark denim separately as it obviously does run!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tights Update

A short while ago, I blogged about how happy I was to find 'perfect' tights at Reitmans for the awesome price of 3 for 18$.

I bought some more on Wednesday and was shocked to see that they'd changed their price.

They're now 3 for 15$!!!

This weekend's project is to go through all my tights and figure out exactly how many I have and how many more I need to get me through the winter.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Speaking of organizing

I finally took the time to clean up the labels for my posts, removing a ton and consolidating others. Now, my blog is organized. I am definitely addicted.

*bemused*

Several months ago, I signed up to receive a 'free trial issue' of 'Real Simple' magazine. I love that magazine, but find it pricey considering that it's mostly ads. So, when I got the bill for the subscription, I immediately cancelled it online and immediately got a confirmation that my subscription was cancelled. I enjoyed my 'free trial issue.'

Guess what came in the mail yesterday? Another issue.

If I get another bill, no biggie; I kept my cancellation confirmation email, so I'm covered.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I just might be addicted...

Because I absolutely could not go to bed tonight without first organizing my bottom cabinets.

The left side wasn't that bad since I'd recently rearranged things to fit a small basket for recyclables:



But the right side was giving me nightmares:



Reading up on organizing techniques this week, one thing stuck in my mind--set limits and stick to them. This cabinet was full to the brim because I had way more plastic stuff than I need.

So, I decided to sort my plastic into two main categories: storage (large pieces) and leftovers/lunch. The small ones had to fit into a basket with their lids. The large ones had to stack. After a bit of puzzling, I wound up with this:



I don't know if the Ikea drainer looks silly or not, but to me it was an 'aha!' moment. The lids are accessible, long containers have a place, and I just have to pull the whole thing out to access rarely used items in the back. Same thing for the stack of storage containers, it moves as one. I can pull the basket of smaller containers out from the top without upsetting anything else. I'd call that progress.

Here's the left side now, with tins replacing the formerly useless dish drainer:



Finally, these items were fired for having poorly fitting lids, no lids, no containers or just being generally a useless nuisance. I'll add the usable pieces to my box for the comptoir familial.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Okay, I concede

It's THAT time of year again.

How's a Wiccan to enjoy Yule with all the commercialism out there?! *sighs*

Maybe I'll just play Santa Claus is pagan, too over and over and over again to get me in the mood (I particularly like the bit about Jesus probably not being a Capricorn). This song makes me want to have kids just to have the whole family sing it as we trim the tree.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exorcism of sorts



I'm only about a third of the way done.

I'm shredding anything with personal information as well as anything I'm afraid I'll fish out of the recycling, AGAIN. The former includes old statements and info about debt I no longer have and no longer want to think about. The latter involves special school papers I've been lugging around for far too long.

Since 2003, I have done an incredible amount of purging, but I know I need to go even further before my cross-country move.

Once the shredding is out of the way, it'll be time to be merciless with the books. I currently have eleven full bookcases; eight for trade and bigger sized and three for paperback. I want to weed that down to one for paperback and four for over oversized. Yeah, I bought my bookcases just seven months ago and lugged them up and down a kazillion number of stairs, but who cares; I got my money's worth out of them and I'm confident I can make my money back on them. I just need to figure out where the books are going to go. Lazy route; drop them off at a comptoir familal. Semi-lazy route; drop them off at the Bookmarket and get whatever they want for the lot. Least lazy route; grab the best stuff and sell it in Chelsea, then take the rest to the Bookmarket. We'll see. :-S

How to tell your customers 'you don't matter!'

This morning, I decided to pop over to the Best Buy in Gatineau to pick up a shredder and a set of DVDs. I went online first to make sure they had shredders in stock. At the last minute, I printed off the page showing the models and prices....

I went to Best Buy because it's conveniently located, has decent selection, tends to have the best prices, was offering a 'US pricing' sale on most merchandise, and I had a 5$ off reward coupon.

Upon arriving at the store, I looked up at the signs to get an idea of where shredders might be, but they offered no clue. I wandered around the store three times before stumbling on an associate. She said "We don't stock shredders." I replied that the site said they had some in stock and she shrugged. "Try the computer area," she said and then left.

So, I went back to the computer area and wandered around a bit, waiting for an associate to free up. I tried standing around the really expensive computers, but the associate in the section was too busy to help and told me to find someone else. So, I went across the store to the tv section and stood in front of the most expensive one there, pretending to be very interested in buying it. That still didn't bring help.

I decided to go get my DVDs then wander around the printers one more time before leaving. On the way to the printers, something made me walk up the keyboard aisle. Way at the end, on the shelf lowest to the ground, were three shredders. Two had prices, the one that interested me didn't. As I was about to whip out the sheet I'd printed with prices (aren't I a smart cookie?) an associate cut in front of me, causing me to fall backwards as I'd just been crouching, not kneeling. I don't think he even noticed I was there.

I managed to stand up with the shredder (I'm still weak from my surgery, remember) and made it up to the cash where no one thought to either bring me a cart or make me some room on a counter (not the hugest deal since the shredder wasn't that heavy once I got a grip on it).

After a few minutes, I made it to the cash. The cashier was the same girl who had brushed me off at the beginning and she off handedly mentioned that I'd found them. "Sans votre aide, ├ža fait dure" I retorted ("Without your (directed at staff in general) help, the store setup is pathetic"). She shrugged again and then stared blankly at my Rewards certificate. I told her that instructions on it said to scan all articles, then scan the certificate. She couldn't do that, though, since the certificate was in English and she doesn't read English. So, I had to wait for her to find an associate who reads English who could confirm what I said.

I came to the conclusion quite a while ago that this is the norm for Best Buy, Staples, Futureshop, Walmart, Zellers, Canadian Tire, etc. and that I'm just punishing myself if I walk out without buying, so I saw my transaction through to the end.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Okay, now I'm spamming

But I couldn't resist sharing this picture of my darlings:



Hard to tell that they spent the day growling at each other, isn't it?

Interesting Corrolation

When my house is messy and dirty, I just want to bury myself in mindless activity. But when it's tidy and clean, I find myself going on an organization binge. It's 9:36PM as I post and I just finished organizing my pantry. I've been putting this off since, well, since I moved in. It took less than 20 minutes to fix!

BEFORE



Beyond the obvious 'it's messy and I can't find anything' problem, I had these issues to fix:

a) cans were making the second shelf curve and I was worried about permanent damage (pantry belongs to the owners of the house);
b) I could never find small items such as tea, spices that I don't use enough to put them on my counter spice rack, various sauces and sweetners, etc.
c) I wanted to be able to put the excess cat food in there somewhere instead of under the table.

AFTER



This should work for me!

Top shelf: bakery products
Second shelf, left side: teas and sweeteners
Second shelf, right side: various sauces, spices, condiments, etc. (the lazy susan from Ikea was used in a similar fashion at my old house)
Third shelf, left side: dried protein (beans, lentils, tvp)
Third shelf, right side: grains (bulgur, couscous, rice, pasta)
Fourth shelf: non-food items (Brita filters, temporarily empty containers, coffee filters, baggies, plastic wrap, etc.)
Bottom shelf, left side: cans (like sorted with like)
Bottom shelf, right side: cat food!

My father once looked into my pantry on a day when it was particularly full and complained that I had 'nothing to eat, just ingredients!' True; I don't have a ton of pre-packaged stuff. (By the way, miss ya, dad!)

Speechless Saturday?

Friday, November 16, 2007

to-do list

Maybe if I publicly post my to-do list for the weekend I'll actually get through some of it?

In no particular order:

-deep clean the bathroom; (done Friday evening)
-deep clean the kitchen; (finished Saturday afternoon)
-deep clean the catbox area; (done Friday evening)
-wipe down all mouldings, window sills, door tops, etc. in the house; (upstairs done Saturday morning) (finished Saturday afternoon)
-vacuum the whole house and wash all the floors; (upstairs done Saturday morning) (finished Saturday afternoon)
-get through my darning pile (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha);
-find a vegetarian sausage recipe and make huge batch of it;
-go grocery shopping (big, need to fill up the pantry, trip); (done Friday night)
-hang the curtains in the living room; (started Saturday afternoon, gave up again)
-get through all the laundry; (done Saturday morning; let me point out that we're talking a mere 3 loads here!)
-take the huge and very full 'for charity' box I have been tripping over in the bedroom for three months and *gasp* drag it up two blocks to the nearest comptoir familial; (done Friday night; mental note for next time: just post an add to Full Circles!)
-buy a shredder and shred the huge and very full 'for shredding' box I've been tripping over in the library for three months; (shredder bought Sunday morning, stuff shredded Sunday afternoon)
-finish organizing my tools in the basement;
-go pick up more cat food (quite the expedition); (ordered for pickup tomorrow! picked up between doing the laundry and cleaning the upstairs; also got litter; one hour field trip total)
-start working on my final paper for my university course. (Saturday morning, looked at the details required)

*rubs eyes*

My reading has definitely passed the 'fluffy' stage to academic. The Spiral Dance was an easy read. Drawing Down the Moon required more effort. The Triumph of the Moon is taking all my energy. Two nights in (one hour of reading), I haven't even made it past the introduction yet.

I have a BA in history, so I'm no stranger to dry as toast literature and I know that I can and will get through this book, but I can't say how long it'll take.

My reading pile is THIS high (should take a picture of it, LOL), but I'm definitely making my way through it slooooooooowly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Travel 'damage'

Whee! I had a great trip! Whenever I 'budget' for a trip, I always add 20% for contingencies to come up with my 'real' budget. Taking that into account, I only went 60$ over budget on this trip!

It took me about 45 minutes tonight to update everything in Buddi, including entering the info for my last pay cheque, planning the next two weeks' expenditures, paying bills, and moving money. I can't believe how easy it was... and how lost I felt this weekend without Buddi at my fingertips!

I thought that doing my 'accounting' for the trip would be a nightmare. Nah! I had receipts for all my credit and debit purchases, as well as most of my cash ones. When it came time to balance, the first two did so to the penny. Cash was missing 60$, but I could account for every single penny of it--parking, shuttle transport, two coffees, one dinner, etc.

I'm so pleased with myself for keeping on top of things on my trip, having fun (ie. not worrying about money, but being mindful), and not mucking up my budget.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Too funny

I just got a letter from Staples thanking me for buying a printer from them and offering me 10$ off my next purchase of toner.

Thing is, I wound up NOT buying my printer from them!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Traditional Values'

I became an aunt for the second time today. My sister now has two strong, beautiful, perfect little boys.

For me, I think the time to have children might have very well passed. People scoff at that because I haven't even reached thirty yet, but that strong urge I had in my early twenties is all but gone.

There are so many things that would be lovely about having a child, like being able to raise it in my faith and to share with it all the wonders I've seen.

Having children today involves too many decisions when it was just a natural and expected process until just a few generations ago. I simply could not imagine myself having a child in my current circumstance, unless one were to fall out of the sky for me; that is I was made the legal guardian of an older child or something along those lines.

Apparently, my values are very 'traditional', even 'Christian' by Wiccan standards. Others may do as they please and will think neutrally of their decisions, but for me to bear a child, it would have to be in wedlock; if a man wants my child, he can darn well slip a ring on my finger!

Another thing is that I cannot see myself raising a child in a world of daycares and babysitters. In fact, the only way I truly see myself as a mother is that of a homemaking and homeschooling mama tending her brood of eight (plus or minus a few!) on her family's partially self-subsistent homestead where hubby brings home the proverbial bacon.

I'm told that's not exactly the most 'feminist' viewpoint out there. *snorts* I'm all for feminism if it gives me the choice to be what I want. Single, I want to travel around the globe and be selfish. Married with children, I want to be glued to the hearth.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bathroom update

I put aside some money quite a few months ago to update the bathroom. My shower curtain and towels both coordinated well with each other, but not with the bathroom, since they had tons of brown while the bathroom is white, baby pink, baby green, and grey. It looks okay, but is not my favourite colour scheme by far. I wanted dark grey towels and a single-colour shower curtain. This morning, I took advantage of a fantastic offer at Sears to get the towels, an okay shower curtain, 'fancy' hooks, and a soap dish. I also added flannel sheets to the pile.

-Towels: 50% off;
-Sheets: 25% off;
-Soap dish 50% off;
-Shower curtain and rings: full price (but...)

by buying more than 100$ worth of stuff, I got an additional 20$ off, which essentially paid for the shower curtain and rings.

I'm tickled pink with the soap dish (on which I plan to put my nail brush). Its colours (the yellows are identical!) and style fairly match the pot I bought a while back, without being so coordinated as to look silly:



(I also scooped up leather gloves and more tights at 25% off... making it worthwhile to get up eeeearly on a Sunday morning!)

We've got a couple of hours of sunlight left and a nice breeze, so my clean new sheets and towels are on the clothesline. I'm looking forward to going to bed!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween disrespectful to Witches?!

http://paganwiccan.about.com/b/2007/10/27/halloween-disrespectful-to-witches-really.htm

A school cancelled Halloween celebrations to avoid offending Wiccans.

What, they'll cancel Christmas next to avoid offending Christians?!

I'm out of the broom closet with my immediate colleagues and gave them all a laugh on Wednesday when I showed up wearing all black, striped socks, and a pointy black hat. I enjoyed the secular aspect of the day, but never forgot that the point of the day is religious observance. So, after the sun set, I put away my pointy hat, pulled out my robes and partied with the gods. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

Next up is Yule, which I celebrate on my own, then Christmas, which I celebrate with my family. I really wish that people (ie. my family) could remember that Christmas is about Jesus first and foremost, and that if atheists, agnostics, and those of other faiths insist on celebrating it, they could perhaps treat it as a time for family togetherness, instead of focusing on how much money was spent on gifts. Bah, we're getting into the time of year that makes me cranky!